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Old 02-24-2011
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diabetic sailors

I am planning a three month cruise this summer. Since my last long cruise, I've started using insulin. I don't have refrigeration and unrefrigerated insulin has a shelf life of 28 days. I could get ice every couple of days except when I'm offshore. I've also read about these frio packs that are supposed to keep insulin cold.
Has anyone out there come up with a good way to handle this?
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Old 02-24-2011
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My wife has been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 30 years. We have been married for 18 years and sail a good bit, though never more than 3 weeks at one time. She tells me the following:

As long as the bottle is not in use, she has never had one go bad, with unrefrigerated periods as long as 4 months. Protect it from extreme heat (keep it in the bilge) and freezing. Limit temperature fluctuations.

3 months should not be a concern, but take a few extra bottles. The 28 day limit is very conservative. When it does go bad, it is obvious. The protein denatures, comes out of solution, and is visible as snow. You should examine every bottle before use; my wife has experienced bottles that were bad fresh from the pharmacy; she noticed, did not use them, and there was no harm.

I also cannot imagine that you will be too far from a place where insulin is available. It is very common. I assume she is type-II and that a few days without insulin is more unpleasant than truely dangerous. My wife is type I and is very brittle.

A much greater concern is protecting the electronic monitor. We have lost a few of those to salt water. Take 3.

If you have further concerns, please ask.
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Old 02-24-2011
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I use the insulin pens. Would this apply to them as well?
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Old 02-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappySailors View Post
I use the insulin pens. Would this apply to them as well?
Insulin chemical properties are the same regardsless of the type of container.

Why not contact the producer of your insulin to get more information?

If you are using disposable pens you should concider switching to insulin ampuls and reusable pen, it will save more than 50% space.

The frio pack system will be better than noting. Found this on a diabetes forum Do those Frio packs really work?
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Old 02-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappySailors View Post
I use the insulin pens. Would this apply to them as well?
No personal expereince. The packaging is a bit different; however, I would think that the sealed pens would have the same durability characteristics.

My wife use syringes years ago and now uses an insulin pump. Thus, the comments all described insulin in vials. I also assume that you are using a mix of either humalog or regular and either NPH or lente human insulin. That is what we know about.

You could always take some vials and syringes as a backup.
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Old 02-26-2011
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Will you be near civilization? You could have family overnight ship the next supply to the marina periodically. Hikers in the US will forward what they call "bounce boxes" to the next post office to be held for pickup. They take what they need and mail it ahead again. Family could just send the next supply to a local post office too.
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